Baseball is on the verge of striking out. One more whiff and it’s game over, lights out. Thanks for coming and paying $5.50 for that hot dog.
Striking out with me, that is. I don’t know how you feel, but I’ve reached the end of my 33-ounce bat of patience. I don’t much feel inclined to go down with the ship as America’s pastime slowly – tortuously – sinks itself with one calamity after another, as its commissioner, Bud Selig, plays the role of Captain Ahab.
I’ve heard the rhetoric from both sides, owners and players alike. I’ve listened to Selig make one Cecil Fielder-sized claim after another.
Exhibit 1: One team won’t make payroll on Monday – Houston Chronicle, July 11. The next day, Major League Baseball officials were backing off the statement and singing “We’re in the Money.”
Exhibit 2: “I really had no choice” – Associated Press, July 10, after the All-Star Game ended in the 11th inning in a 7-7 tie.
Tie? There’s no tying in baseball. And save the blather that this was an “exhibition game.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but even in exhibition games, baseball teams play until there’s a winner.
In fact, the only time a game is called is A) weather, and only when it’s really bad, or B) Mom yells that you better get your butt inside for dinner or else you’re going to bed hungry.
Besides, an “exhibition,” according to my battered copy of the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, is: “1. An act of exhibiting. 2. Something exhibited. 3. A display for the public, as of art objects, industrial achievements or agricultural products.”
Sidestepping the agricultural products, to follow the logic, when one puts on a baseball exhibition one exhibits the rules governing the sport, which clearly indicate that baseball games don’t end in ties. (Thank you, Perry Mason. Now there’s a murder you must solve in the last five minutes of your television show.)
Players getting hurt is a compelling reason to stop a game. But is it compelling enough to brush back 150 years of baseball tradition, coupled with the feeble excuse, “It’s just an exhibition game”?
There were a hundred different ways Selig and his managerial brain trust could have allowed that game to end. Sure, some would have involved bending the rules a bit, but at least we wouldn’t have a tie. Didn’t we just get done sleeping through the World Cup?
Ty Cobb must be sharpening his baseball cleats in his grave.
Ending the All-Star Game early was an asinine decision. But it’s not the only one. While baseball players discuss strike deadlines, baseball owners plot lockout options. Here we have two groups, each making hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and I’m supposed to choose which side to take, which contingent to feel sorry for?
Are you kidding me?
Why should we feel sorry for these guys? Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks was dumb enough to pay Alex Rodriguez $252 million and I’m supposed to sympathize with him because maybe, just maybe, that was too much money?
Or, I should take it in stride when players who make on average $2 million a year balk at the idea of revenue sharing so small-market teams can field some semblance of a competitive squad?
Wait a second, that’s crazy talk. Because, you see, they don’t care what I think. If they did, they wouldn’t be talking about strikes and lockouts and whether their dad can beat up the other side’s dad.
I mean, why should they care what I think? I’m only one of the millions of people who buy tickets to games, purchase Major League Baseball merchandise and approve public financing of new ballparks. It’s not like we have a say in this or anything, right?
I’ve done some rough calculations, and it appears the amount of stupid decisions made in the past 10 years by Major League Baseball is the exact opposite of what it took to land Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Personally, this saga of ineptness has grown old and I find myself wondering if I shouldn’t turn my attention to another sport. NASCAR? The ESPN Great Outdoor Games? The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee?
Come to think of it, they did play that on the moon. So there’s one thing going for it.
Although, they haven’t banned wearing knickers.
Barry Rochford is editor of the Valley Record. You can reach him at (425) 888-2311, or e-mail him at barry.rochford@